Author: Rui Xin, Assistant professor of Chinese Department, Xiamen University; post-doctoral fellow of Academia Catholica, Fu Jen Catholic University
That “God is dead,” as Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche claimed, was unquestionably one of the most shocking announcements in the modern West. But Italian thinker Gianni Vattimo argues that the important function of Nietzsche’s discourse does not simply reside in its anthropological meaning, but that it has made people realize that the death of God can not be separated from the dissolution of metaphysics. In other words, “the Death of God” is “the announcement about the death of Christ on the cross,” which indicates a commitment to the weakness and negating of reason. In a context of Nietzschean post-metaphysics, John D. Caputo, the American successor of French deconstructionist Jacques Derrida, declares firmly that he wants to offer a kind of faith which keeps its distance from previous specific and historical faith experiences. This kind of faith is not “a theology of power,” but is “a theology of weakness” that relates the weakness of God with an ethical responsibility to the poor and the people who need help. This paper centers around Caputo’s The Weakness of God: A Theology of Event and puts this book into the context of his overall thinking, to explore why he presents a theology of weakness and how we might understand his particular analysis. It may be helpful for Chinese scholars to realize that Caputo is seeking for a kind of theology which does not provide any fixed answer but helps reveal the ideological nature of any truth system.
John D. Caputo, theology of weakness, event
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